Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
|Princess Joséphine Charlotte|
Joséphine Charlotte with her elder sons in 1963
|Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg|
|Tenure||12 November 1964 – 7 October 2000|
11 October 1927|
Royal Palace of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium
|Died||10 January 2005
Fischbach Castle, Fischbach, Luxembourg
|Burial||Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg|
|Spouse||Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg (m. 1953)|
|Issue||Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein
|House||Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Father||Leopold III of Belgium|
|Mother||Astrid of Sweden|
Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium (Joséphine Charlotte Ingeborg Elisabeth Maria Josepha/Marie-José Margarethe/Marguerite Astrid; 11 October 1927 - 10 January 2005), also Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg was the Grand Duchess consort of Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. She was the first cousin of King Harald V of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway, and Princess Ragnhild of Norway. She was the first child of Leopold III of Belgium, and sister of the late King Baudouin of Belgium and King Albert II of Belgium, the former king of Belgium, and aunt of the current king.
She was born at the Royal Palace of Brussels as the oldest child and only daughter of King Leopold III of Belgium and Princess Astrid of Sweden. While expecting her daughter, Astrid had been reading a biography of the Empress Josephine, the consort of Napoleon Bonaparte. She must have found Josephine very appealing, as she decided to name the little Princess, born October 11, 1927, after her. Josephine was also the name of one of the child's great-aunts, the dearest sister of King Albert I. Astrid was a devoted mother to her "little Jo." The young Princess spent her childhood at the Stuyvenberg Palace just outside Brussels with her parents, Prince Léopold and Princess Astrid. Her mother, who was born a Princess of Sweden and a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte's first wife Joséphine, was killed in an automobile accident in 1935 at age 29. Her father was a direct descendant of Stéphanie de Beauharnais, cousin of Joséphine's first husband and adopted daughter of Joséphine's second husband. She was the sister of Belgian monarchs Baudouin and Albert II.
Princess Joséphine Charlotte first attended school at the Royal Palace, where a small class had been organized for her. At the end of 1940, she entered a boarding school and then continued her education with her own private teachers. On 7 June 1944, the day after the Allied Forces landed in Normandy, France, she and her father were sent to Germany and kept there under house-arrest. The Royal Family, which included her brothers Baudouin and Albert and their stepmother, Mary Lilian Baels, Princess of Réthy, was freed on 7 May 1945 and settled in Prégny, Switzerland.
Princess Joséphine Charlotte continued her studies at the "Ecole Supérieure de Jeunes Filles" in Geneva, Switzerland. Afterwards, she took Jean Piaget's lectures on child psychology at the University of Geneva. When she returned to Belgium the princess took up her official duties. At the same time, she also devoted herself to social problems and developed her interest in the arts.
Joséphine Charlotte was joined in marriage on 9 April 1953 in Luxembourg to Prince Jean, who at the time was The Hereditary Grand Duke and heir-apparent to the throne of Luxembourg. Although politically motivated, it was a happy match. During their 52-year marriage, the royal couple had five children:
- Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg (b. 17 February 1954)
- Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg (b. 16 April 1955)
- Prince Jean of Luxembourg (b. 15 May 1957)
- Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg (b. 15 May 1957)
- Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg (b. 1 May 1963)
As a princess in the royal house of Belgium, Joséphine Charlotte brought a wealth of elegance, taste and refinement to her new homeland. She carried out many social, cultural and humanitarian duties. She focused on several initiatives that she would ardently support, particularly matters pertaining to children and families. She was also president of the Luxembourg Youth Section of the Red Cross.
Titles, styles, and honours
Titles and styles
- 11 October 1927 – 9 April 1953: Her Royal Highness Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
- 9 April 1953 – 12 November 1964: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
- 12 November 1964 – 7 October 2000: Her Royal Highness The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
- 7 October 2000 – 10 January 2005: Her Royal Highness Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg
- National Honours
- Belgium: Knight Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold 
- Luxembourg: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau 
- Luxembourg: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau
- Foreign Honours
- Iceland: Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon (9 June 1986) 
- Norway: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav
- Netherlands: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
- Sweden: Member Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Seraphim
- Sweden: Recipient of the 50th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf
- Denmark: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Elephant
- Greek Royal Family: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia (13 May 1962) 
- Spain: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (8 July 1980) 
- Germany: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Iran : Commemorative Medal of the 2500th Anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire (14 October 1971) 
- Holy See : Member of Sovereign Military Order of Malta 
- "Notice biographique de S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte". Government of Luxembourg. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg". The Telegraph. 2005-01-11. Retrieved 2011-05-15.
- "The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor: Tiara Thursday: The Belgian Scroll Tiara". The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- Royalement Blog, State visit of Belgium in Luxembourg (1994), Group Photo
- Photo of Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte
- Icelandese Presidency Website , Josephine Charlotte ; stórhertogafrú ; Lúxemborg ; 1986-06-09 ; Stórkross (=Josephine Charlotte, Grand Duchess, Luxembourg, 9 June 1986, Grand Cross)
- "The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor: Tiara Thursday: Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's Tiara". orderofsplendor.blogspot.nl. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- Wedding of Juan Carlos of Spain and Sophia of Greece
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
- Jean with Pope John Paul I
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium.|
Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium
Cadet branch of the House of WettinBorn: 11 October 1927 Died: 10 January 2005
Felix of Bourbon-Parma
as prince consort
|Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg
María Teresa Mestre y Batista